The Uganda Electoral Commission proposed the idea of a scientific election and the country has been battling with hot debates after the idea was not welcomed by many.
The idea was presented to the parliament on 1st July 2020 but Members of Parliament (MPs) rejected the Electoral Commission’s (EC) decision banning open public rallies ahead of the 2021 General Elections.
The MPs asked the government to consider declaring a State of Emergency so that the polls can be postponed if the main reason behind the scientific election proposal id the threats of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ugandan MPs indicated that it is unfair for the EC to disconnect candidates at all levels from their potential voters because the physical appearance also matters in making choices.
MP Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine in an interview with NBS television informed Ugandans that a bad election is worse than COVID-19 itself and a scientific election is a bad election therefor Ugandans must reject it.
According to the Electoral Commission, the country will not be in a position to handle the public rallies, gatherings, and confusions in case elections are to remain normal. The Commission claims that the lives of innocent citizens would be at stake due to COVID-19
According to the scientific elections, all political aspirants at all levels will only be allowed to hold rallies and convince their supportive voters via radios, televisions, and social media platforms.
MPs questioned the legality of the decision by the EC to ban political rallies, arguing that this would abrogate some sections of the Presidential Elections Act, Parliamentary Elections Act, and the Constitution.
“If it is about a pandemic, then it is supposed to be the Ministry of Health, not the EC. My Lord (referring to Justice Byabakama), if this election is discredited, nobody will remember the scientists you are basing on to ban rallies but it will be the EC, which you head,” Bugiri Municipality MP Asuman Basalirwa said.
Incase Of A State of Emergency
Under Article 110 of the Constitution, the President in consultation with Parliament can declare a State of Emergency in case there is a threat of external aggression, threat to security or economic life, and any measures necessary to secure public safety.
But in this case, a State of Emergency will affect the time for elections, meaning President Museveni would have to leave office on May 12 when his current term ends, handing over power to the Speaker of Parliament. Parliament’s life is extendable for a period of six months during the State of Emergency.
By Nsunjo Erica